Accepted paper:

"Be Better Educated" Practices of Moral Learning among Female Students at Gülen Movement Schools in Dar es Salaam


Kristina Mashimi (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

Against the background of an increasingly stratified and competitive educational market in the multi-religious city of Dar es Salaam, this paper explores practices of moral learning among female students at a Gülen Movement school for girls.

Paper long abstract:

Since the end of the 1990s the Gülen Movement (GM) has become an important global player in the field of education, charity, business and healthcare in around 140 countries around the world. Inspired by the ideas of the Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, his followers, who mostly originate from Turkey, actively shape the educational landscapes of many African cities: As "religious entrepreneurs", they translate Fethullah Gülens vision of an ideal education that combines moral values and scientific knowledge into successful marketed schools. This is also the case for Feza Girls' Secondary and High School in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). The school's slogan "Be better educated" is not only referring to the academic skills but also to the moral formation the students are hoped to attain through education at Feza. In this paper I explore how female students of diverse socio-religious backgrounds learn and embody moral values within the ethical framework of GM schools and against the backdrop of larger histories of religious-social differences and inequalities in Tanzania (Dilger 2013). I explore the practices and interactions at school which are envisioned to form a moral habitus as well as practices of ethical self-formation among female students that sometimes conflict with the GM notion of moral education. Thus, with this paper I aim to contribute to an understanding of moral learning as well as of the moral landscapes in religiously-oriented schools within the larger framework of an increasingly stratified and competitive educational market in the multi-religious city of Dar es Salaam.

panel Rel08
Religious organizations as moral agents in urban Africa